Temple’s top two scorers haven’t been producing lately, but it hasn’t mattered with the solid play from the team’s bench.
The 19th-ranked Owls look to win their third in a row Saturday when they face a Richmond team looking to continue its home-court dominance.
Ryan Brooks leads Temple (19-4, 7-1 Atlantic 10) with 15.5 points per game, but the senior guard has scored 10 or fewer in three of his last four contests. He had seven in just 23 minutes of Wednesday’s 76-60 win over Duquesne.
Sophomore guard Juan Fernandez has 12 total points in his last three games - less than his season average of 12.3 - and played a season-low 11 minutes versus the Dukes.
“It was a statement by the coaches to say we’ve got to have our act together a little more than we did,” coach Fran Dunphy said of using a heavy dose of his substitutes.
After Ramone Moore and Rahlir Jefferson scored all 23 of Temple’s bench points in last Saturday’s 64-52 victory over La Salle, the pair combined for 26 against Duquesne. Moore had a season-high 15 while Jefferson, a freshman, scored a season-best 11 as Temple enjoyed its second-best shooting game of the season, hitting 57.1 percent.
“It’s been unbelievable what they’ve given us,” Dunphy said of the bench, which has accounted for 44.3 percent of the team’s offense in the last two games.
Brooks had 13 points and six rebounds and Fernandez scored 15 off the bench in last season’s 74-65 home win over Richmond (17-6, 6-2).
While Temple’s starting backcourt looks to break out of its slump, junior Lavoy Allen has continued his solid play down low. Allen, third in the A-10 with 10.2 rebounds per game, is averaging 12.7 points and 13.0 boards while posting three straight double-doubles.
Facing a Richmond team that is 13th in the A-10 with 33.2 rebounds per game could help Allen get the 10 boards he needs to move past Mark Tyndale (733) for 11th all-time at Temple.
Allen scored 10 points with 11 rebounds last season against the Spiders.
Richmond guard David Gonzalvez, who hit three 3-pointers and scored a career-high 36 points in that matchup, had 18 with a season-high nine rebounds as Richmond won its third straight Wednesday, 68-58 at Saint Joseph’s.
Gonzalvez is averaging 22.7 points on 56.4 percent shooting in three games versus Temple. He scored 20 in the teams’ last matchup at Robins Center, a 64-58 victory Feb. 6, 2008.
The Owls, who lead the A-10 in scoring defense (57.0) and field goal defense at 38.0 percent, could also be tested by Richmond leading scorer Kevin Anderson, who is averaging 17.2 points. The junior guard, though, has struggled lately with 15 total points in his last two games after averaging 20.2 in his previous nine.
The Spiders are holding teams to 57.5 points and 37.7 percent shooting while winning 10 of 11 at home.
Temple has won four of five versus Richmond and leads the all-time series 8-6.